NASSAU, The Bahamas — The installation of the Enhanced 919 Emergency Call-Handling System (E919) will not only “vastly improve” response times to emergencies throughout The Bahamas, but will also further strengthen the country’s national security machinery, Minister of National Security “Tommy” Turnquest said Wednesday.
It is also expected to save the Government of The Bahamas millions of dollars insofar as infrastructural developments are concerned.
The Government signed a $2,920,773 contract with Motorola Solutions Inc. Wednesday for the purchase and installation of the system which will replace the system currently in use by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Mr. Turnquest said the upgrade in technology was “necessitated” by the increased volumes of calls, heightened public expectations and national security concerns.
The Emergency Call-Handling System comes with three components including the state-of-the-art E919 with Logging Recorder: the CACH or Computer-Aided Call Handling System and an Automated People/Automatic Vehicle Location (APL/AVL) System.
“These concerns have underscored the need for an integrated and systematic approach to emergency call-handling,” Mr. Turnquest said. “The E919 will be the citizen’s primary access to emergency services.”
Mr. Turnquest said the application of new technology in national security and law enforcement strategies have resulted in a number of successes.
He said the use of the E919 System will perform three significant functions, firstly, to improve response times, ensure that the communications system of the Royal Bahamas Police Force “are maintained at state-of-the-art levels”, while reducing some of the need for constructing infrastructure.
There will be additional benefits to the system, Mr. Turnquest added.
“We all know that long response times to emergency calls have a significant impact on the outcome of the emergency,” Mr. Turnquest said. “Very often, the most viable solution for receiving quick attention to an emergency is not the building of additional fire and police stations or medical facilities.
“It is having in place, the means by which one is able to effectively communicate in order to shorten the response times to an acceptable level,” Mr. Turnquest added.
Mr. Turnquest said 9-1-1 call-handling has “changed dramatically” over the last 10 years. He said the E919 System enables 919 or 911 access from any telephone in the country to a central answering point. Immediate recognition of the calling party and text-based location information is displayed at the Emergency Response Centre allowing emergency services to be “rapidly dispatched” to the calling party’s location.
The CACH System, will ensure a high quality, consistent call-handling, and will have great impact on the country’s emergency response process as its software has the capability of recommending response levels based on the severity of an incident. The System works particularly well with wireless phones.
The APL/AVL System will provide Police Officers with greater access to centralised information while in the field.
“The purchase of this equipment is the fulfilment of yet another one of the Government’s commitment to provide a safer Bahamas through the acquisition of an Enhanced 919 Emergency call Handling System,” Mr. Turnquest added.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services